Published on April 1st, 2016 | by Dean Love0
Hidden Rooms, London – Chain Reaction
Chain Reaction is buggy. It’s a weird term to use, one used more to describe videogames, but it’s the only term that can really explain our experience with this room. We didn’t have a great time, but it’s not because the game was bad, but because it just seemed like it was a half-done prototype that needed a few more weeks to iron out the kinks.
It took a while to find the place – it’s not just that it’s in a residential street, but it’s sort of off and around the side of a house, so you can’t even tell you’re in the right place until you’re wondering down the driveway!
The plot is that you’re trapped in a nuclear bunker, after a nuclear bomb goes off, which is normally a good thing. Alas your friend is stuck outside and you’re trying to reset the bunker so you can let her back in. It doesn’t look much like a bunker, though does have a fair amount of cool stuff in it, including one puzzle with some very clever engineering clearly going on behind it, and a few cool toys that you get to play with.
But the bugs: there are some fairly wordy clues written on walls around the room that don’t actually seem to tell you the right thing to do. There’s a device with no instructions on how to use it (a hint: no, they don’t expect you do that disgusting thing) and in the end we didn’t even need it as the way the puzzle was set up we ‘broke’ it and got the answer without using it anyway. And lastly, there was the puzzle where we got the clue 8=1. Stuck for ideas we tried a four digit code we had on a lock that had an 8 in it, and replaced it with a 1. And it worked! That again, was just dumb luck. That code came from somewhere else, and that clue that we thought was 8=1 was actually 8=I and for an entirely different puzzle.
There’s so many good concepts, ideas and individual puzzles in this room that it could be really good. But it just doesn’t all hang together properly. The way clues have been written out longhand on the walls sort of suggests that they’re aware that this is an issue, and have tried to provide more direction around what do and in what order, but in doing so have just confused things even more. I wanted to love this room but it was just so damn ‘buggy’.
Result – our second, consecutive loss! The hosts were nice enough to allow us to finish out the game and we escaped with another 18 minutes – top marks for actually allowing us so much extra time!
Date played: 19 April 2015
Team: Dean, Katherine, Sarah
Summary: If they fix the issues with this room, it could be great.